Originally published in the Summer + Fall 2020 issue.
In September 2019, the doors to something never before seen in Aspen opened: a membership space welcome to all walks of life. Co-founders and mother/daughter duo Candice Carpenter-Olson and Michaela Carpenter both have a love of and natural ability to create community, and when the clothing store attached to their coffee shop, Local Coffee, was going out of business, they jumped at the chance to take over the space. Local Coffee has been known to be, more often than not, jam packed, making a seat to enjoy your house-roasted cup of joe hard to come by. Enter Here House: Local’s sophisticated sister and clubhouse model that provides a solution Aspenites have been responding very well to.
Originally from New York City, both Carpenter and Carpenter-Olson belong to club concepts, the likes of Soho House and CORE: Club, and saw the opportunity in Aspen to create something similar. Here House feels like a boutique hotel lobby, but is focused more on community connection and luxurious comfort, and less on initiation fees or social status. The website describes Here House as “a stylish, inter-generational member space to meet, work, play and unwind at the base of Aspen Mountain.” When you pop your head in, that is what you see. There are often members on the couch having coffee or lunch, people on laptops getting some work done in between ski laps and even kids enjoying hot cocoa and donuts. One of the crowd-pleasing benefits of being a member is the table service offered for food and beverage from Local, allowing members to skip the lines and wait at the counter.
Carpenter and Carpenter-Olson have been in Aspen full time going on four years now and have made quite the splash since arriving. They started with a pop-up retail space called Maker + Place in the summer of 2017 and then relocated to a permanent space. The ability to quickly take action has been key to their success. Recognizing the need for more coffee and croissants in town and the need for more foot traffic to their new location made the decision to dive headfirst into the coffee business a no-brainer. Kevin Newland soon came on board, both as Carpenter’s husband, and as part of the ownership team, overseeing roasting and baking. Local Coffee was officially born in January 2018. In the two years they’ve been open, Local Coffee has laid claim to “Best Coffee in Aspen” two years running, as voted on by the community in the Aspen Times.
Here House was born from the same sound business decisions as Local Coffee: listening to their customers, identifying a gap in the market and moving swiftly to action. Local customers were often asking for more tables, a quieter space to work and table service, while multiple attempts at a co-working space in the core of Aspen had been unsuccessful. Carpenter-Olson saw a vision for space in town with an eclectic group of people in a stylish space working, playing and unwinding. Over 100 members later, it seems that Aspen has bought into that vision.
“To me the most interesting tribes have lots of diversity built into them. Aspen can start to feel like a virtually gated community, and we want to do our part to keep the locks off. Life is much more fascinating when you mix it up,” says Carpenter-Olson.
Here House also offers programming open to the entire community, including the Wellness Wednesday series that covers a wide range of topics that intersect the corners of science and wellness. The series has been well received and covers issues such as gut health and the microbiome, the neuroscience of vision and goal setting, yoga therapy, brain health and more. Sunday Brunch is also offered from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.; aimed at making it delicious and affordable: 30 dollars for all you can eat food, two mimosas or specialty coffees included. Day passes and punch pass memberships are available for those who are in Aspen on a semi-regular basis.
All details for memberships and events can be found at herehouse.club.
Photo courtesy of Here House.